Age-Diverse Training Groups: How Knowledge Sharing & Psychological Safety Promote Learning Outcomes

Fabiola Heike Gerpott, Nale Lehmann-Willenbrock, Ramon Wenzel, Sven Constantin Voelpel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperConference paper

2 Citations (Scopus)


The increasing age diversity of the workforce that results from global demographic shifts presents a human resource development challenge for contemporary organizations. This study investigates the processes and boundary conditions through which perceived age diversity in formal training settings influences learning outcomes.
Using data from 211 employees participating in collaborative one-day trainings at a large automobile manufacturer, we found that perceived age diversity, but not objective diversity, was negatively linked to learning outcomes. This negative relationship was mediated by knowledge sharing. Furthermore, providing evidence for a moderated mediation model, we showed that psychological safety climate positively influenced the indirect negative effect of perceived age diversity on learning outcomes through knowledge sharing. If psychological safety climate was high, knowledge sharing was relatively high, regardless of the level of perceived age diversity. In contrast, at low levels of psychological safety climate, perceived age diversity was strongly negatively linked to knowledge sharing.
The findings imply that age differences can influence learning in trainings, but only when salient to participants. Practitioners are advised to improve psychological safety climate in trainings as a buffer against the potential negative effects of perceived age diversity on knowledge sharing and learning.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAcademy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings 2015
EditorsJohn Humphreys
PublisherAcademy of Management
ISBN (Print)2151-6561
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2015
EventAcademy of Management 2015 Annual Meeting - Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 7 Aug 201511 Aug 2015

Publication series

NameBest Paper Proceedings
PublisherAcademy of Management


ConferenceAcademy of Management 2015 Annual Meeting
Internet address


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